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Himmelkvad (Blu Ray Audio & SACD) Hybrid SACD - DSD

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The Nordic Council Music Prize 2010 was awarded to the Norwegian composer Lasse Thoresen. His 'Opus 42' represents a true renewal of Nordic vocal music. This strikingly beautiful piece reveals the common denominators in ancient and ultra-modern sounds, drawing our attention to the similarities between Scandinavian folk traditions and the music we might find in, say, the Middle East or India. Lasse Thoresen not only uses folk sounds to spice up art music, he also integrates its finely tuned microtonality, spectral overtones, harmonies and rhythms into the contemporary, modernist project in a truly pioneering manner. A project like this depends upon close collaboration with skilled musicians who are willing to take risks. Thoresen found them in the vocal ensemble Nordic Voices and folk singer Berit Opheim Versto.

Artistic creativity, versatility and technical precision are the main elements that make up NORDIC VOICES. The six-voice a cappella group was formed in 1996 and comprises graduates from the Norwegian Academy of Music and the Norwegian Academy of Opera, who, in addition to their singing backgrounds, have a broad range of experience from choral conducting to teacher training and composition. It is perhaps this range of interests that leads them to explore a wider than usual spectrum of musical expression, from plainchant to new works commissioned from leading Norwegian composers; from the most sacred of religious texts to the definitely profane. Nordic Voices are an unusual blend of sophisticated music-making and stylish performance, more often than not with more than a dash of humour.
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Product Details

  • Composer: Thoresen
  • Blu-ray Audio (February 28, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: 2L
  • Run Time: 73 minutes
  • ASIN: B006O8K4SK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,029 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Gio on October 26, 2012
Format: Blu-ray Audio Verified Purchase
And the only previous reviewer's "clarification" needs clarification:
There are two disks in this package. One is a BluRay audio-only disk. The other, of the same performance, is an SACD disk that is NOT compatible with non-SACD players. Both are produced in 24-bit very high-end recoding technology. The SACD is compatible with iPod and other MP3 players.

Why? Why only such ultra recording technology? Because the music needs it. On one hand, the music of composer Lasse Thoresen is remarkably grounded in Norwegian folk music and Norwegian musicianship; the six solo songs of Thoresen's Opus 19, sung by Berit Opheim Versto, sound like and in fact are "extensions" of the deepest Norwegian singing tradition. That tradition, however, involves the use of non-equal-tempered modes, of microtonal ornaments, of "overtone" and "throat" vocalizations. Thoresen has taken such musical practices considerably farther from "conservatory classical" vocal technique in his four-movement Opus 40 for six voices. Those six voices need to do stuff that even the most skilled vocal ensembles simply can't do with aplomb. The singers whisper and cough, but with gorgeous musical timbres. Many passages require "overtone" singing, and many involve astounding progressions of micro-intervals. And Thoresen has managed to modulate those unorthodox Norwegian scales through what a classical composer would call related keys. This is music at its most original and futuristic level. It's also quite beautiful, rich in exaltation and contemplation. The texts are intrinsically religious, even when not explicitly so. I have to confess, as a proud atheist I'm frustrated and flummoxed that so much of the very best contemporary music is "religious" in inspiration.
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Format: Blu-ray Audio
Himmelkvad is a Blu-Ray Audio Disc. It is not a DVD-Audio disc playable in all DVD players. Someone at Amazon needs to do a little more research into Blu-Ray Audio I think. What Blu-Ray Audio means is that this disc has just audio, no video excpet the menu page. The music composed by Lasse Thorensen is interpreted by the Nordic Voices as well as can be hoped for by any composer. "Himmelkvad" is Thorensen's Opus 40, may he have many more. The Blu-Ray disc is 24bit 192khz. 5.0 the SACD is
Multichannel or MCH 5.0 and also Stereo. I should also point out that the original recording was done at 24bit 352khz. Which is why the Blu-Ray disc and the SACD. A regular red book CD would not be able to do the recording justice. Also the Nordic Voices are an amazing Sextet.
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